March 14, 2010

Ramen: Nong Shim #1

NONG SHIM Kimchi Ramyun

This is the US made version of Nong Shim’s Kimchi noodles, and like their other flavors comes in a larger form than that of their more famous competitors. The standard size of ramen known here is 3oz, and I usually devour two at once. Nong Shim however puts out 4.2oz packs as standard, and I suspect that if I tried to down two of these at once I’d go cardiac meltdown. It’s rather fulfilling, and goes well with about twelve ounces of Wild Cherry Pepsi for breakfast.

Kimchi Ramyun comes with a round mound of dry noodles, dried vegetable packet and a packet of soup base. The soup base is a beef stock, with various spices, soy sauce powder, salts and sugar. Dehydrated mushroom, green onion, carrot and kimchi accompany it for that special flavor and texture. The finished soup comes out in a deep vibrant orange, almost sea of blood-ish color, and the noodles have a slightly slippery but more than acceptable texture.

This ramen is of course, ‘gourmet spicy’ and that’s just how I like mine (note: the package I bought doesn’t clarify anywhere that it’s spicy for some reason, but I’ve had it before so I knew). It’s definitely not the spiciest I’ve tasted, but as a stand alone package without any modifications, I’d say that it’s got a definite 7/10 rating. The final bits of noodles, veggies and broth were especially delectable and left a gentle tingling on my lips and in my stomach. I can only imagine if I had followed the ‘serving suggestion’ and placed actual kimchi on top of the finished dish. That would have been sweet…hmm, maybe next time, this dish would totally benefit from it.

Founded in 1965, the ‘Best Taste Award Winning’ Korean company known now as Nong Shim, slowly branched out over decades with its products and international factory locations. Prices for each package range from 75 cents upward, which for ramen may seem like much… however, this company seemingly takes great pride in what they do if that’s any consolation. In any case, it’s worth it to try different brands, especially if you’re prone to eating the same thing time and time again.

NONG SHIM Shin Ramyun

Though I haven’t tried all of their product, this is the first of theirs I had and to this day is my very favorite of their brand. I had taken to eating a mix of Maruchan Picante Chicken and Chili flavors, which is quite flavorful and spicy… and definitely satisfying! Though, none of that had prepared me for the onslaught of nose-runniness that would occur when I downed this delightfully amped up treat. In my ‘most humble opinion’, all Ramen should be spicy. ALL of it! There’s no fun to be had in a bland dish (every try eating mild jambalaya). Anyone sensitive to spicy food will immediately withdraw from eating this after the first slurp.

NONG SHIM's noodles are a bit thicker than others, not by much, but still cook nicely. They may seem slightly firm but actually have a slight chewiness to them which is excellent. On a noodle grade, I’d say that this is one of the tops out there. Cup noodles, these are not. This is the real deal no bullshit meal. The broth is dark and brooding, and when you look into it you the mysteries of the world seemingly present themselves to you.

I’d like to see NS put out some more flavor options, that’s my one complaint. Just straight up instant noodle flavors, nothing fancy. It’s become a bit easier for the Ramen connoisseur to get some variety, but you’ve got to store-hop if you really want to find something. There aren’t any ramen bars around here, but every location has different stuff and there’s a few Asian shops scattered about. I’ll not settle for plain ol’ beef or chicken. That’s for the newbies, kid stuff, ya know. I still appreciate it though, and thank mum for making me my first bowl when I was six. Shin Ramyun gets a solid 9.5/10. Its Spicy Beef flavor left tiny beads of sweat forming over my brow… so make sure you stuff a wet facecloth in the freezer while you cook this.

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